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Lauryn Praet

Wellness Ambassador Lauryn Praet talks about COVID and campus

Wellness ambassadors support the University of Illinois' COVID-19 educational compliance efforts by providing health resources to the university community. The College of Applied Health Sciences is proud to boast several students who are participating in the Wellness Ambassador program. Periodically, we'll speak with a student about what they have encountered in their role. Today, it's Lauryn Praet, a student in Interdisciplinary Health Sciences.

Q: What kind of training did you receive to become a Wellness Ambassador?

A: We were trained as a group in both a Zoom training, as well as in-person training.  These training sessions were facilitated by both the directors of the program as well as professionals from McKinley Health Center and the Champaign Public Health Department.  We receive ongoing support through bi-weekly Zoom trainings to answer questions and problem solve any concerns. As a team lead,  I received additional training specific to how to support my 8 person team, as well as address questions or concerns in between our biweekly meetings.  

Q: What kind of activities are you performing while working?

A: Our workdays vary as well. We always have free wellness packets to hand out to students and faculty.  Sometimes we are handing those out on the quad encouraging everyone to use COVID precautions, sanitizing, mask-wearing, and social distancing.  Sometimes we are at the COVID test sites helping to support student testing.  In the upcoming weeks, we will be helping to encourage students and faculty to get their yearly flu shots.  

Q: How many hours do you work a week?

A: On average, I work 8-10 hours a week.

Q: Where are you stationed?

A: We have the opportunity to work all over campus. We are able to choose where we want to work each day from a list of facilities or areas that request assistance from the ambassadors.  I have worked on the quad, at the COVID testing sites, and a variety of other University buildings. Typically, we are places where you would find students, faculty, and activity. 

Q: What challenges have you faced in doing the job?

A: Being a Wellness Ambassador has been enjoyable, and most students are accepting of the information and wellness packets. We have observed most students complying with precautions, however, have experienced a few individuals who do not respect the safety precautions. We can remind and offer safety materials but have no authority to enforce.

Q: What kind of reactions do you get from students or faculty when you encounter them?

A: I have received very positive reactions from students and faculty. Most students and faculty seem to want to do their part by respecting and complying with COVID precautions. Most people I have spoken to understand the importance of the measures and respect the University for its extensive efforts to keep us safe and on campus. Most students want to be on campus and comply in hopes of staying on campus.

Q: What’s the toughest part of the job?

A: As I stated before, COVID safety is not always easy to enforce. However, knowing that I am making this campus a safer environment for all students to live and learn at makes it all worth it.

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